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A good test

August 11, 2011 - Mike McLain
BEREA -- The Browns are looking forward to opening the preseason Saturday at home against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

Coach Pat Shurmur is admittedly keyed up for what will be his first game ever as a head coach. He likes having the Packers as an oppopnent because of the challenge they will present.

Starters on both teams are expected to play no more than one quarter. Still, facing the Packers' first-team offense, including Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, will be a challenge for a defense that's testing several new parts.

It will be interesting to see how cornerback Joe Haden stands up against an elite passing team. Haden has been short of sensational during camp. Recently-acquired free safety Usama Young will get his first chance to showcase his coverage skills against one of the best deep throwing quarterbacks in the NFL.

The offense has been inconsistent in the first two weeks of camp, but there have been signs of improvement this week. Quarterback Colt McCoy, in particular, has looked more comfortable in his timing with the receivers, especially rookie Greg Little.

Don't expect to see running back Montario Hardesty Saturday. He hasn't practiced in close to two weeks because of a knee problem. The more time he misses, the more likely it is that he will also be sidelined for the second preseason game a week from Friday against the Detroit Lions.

Shurmur admits that games are a better gauge of progress than practices. The coaching staff will have plenty to work off next week after facing the Packers.


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